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Wench: A Novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Narrated By: Quincy Tyler Bernstine

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Date: March 2010

Duration: 8 hours 17 minutes


An ambitious and startling debut novel that follows the lives of four women at a resort popular among slaveholders who bring their enslaved mistresses

wench wench . from Middle English "wench" a: a girl, maid, young woman; a female child.

Tawawa House in many respects is like any other American resort before the Civil War. Situated in Ohio, this idyllic retreat is particularly nice in the summer when the Southern humidity is too much to bear. The main building, with its luxurious finishes, is loftier than the white cottages that flank it, but then again, the smaller structures are better positioned to catch any breeze that may come off the pond. And they provide more privacy, which best suits the needs of the Southern white men who vacation there every summer with their black, enslaved mistresses. It's their open secret.

Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet are regulars at Tawawa House. They have become friends over the years as they reunite and share developments in their own lives and on their respective plantations. They don't bother too much with questions of freedom, though the resort is situated in free territory but when truth-telling Mawu comes to the resort and starts talking of running away, things change.

To run is to leave behind everything these women value mos friends and families still down South and for some it also means escaping from the emotional and psychological bonds that bind them to their masters. When a fire on the resort sets off a string of tragedies, the women of Tawawa House soon learn that triumph and dehumanization are inseparable and that love exists even in the most inhuman, brutal of circumstances all while they are bearing witness to the end of an era.

An engaging, page-turning, and wholly original novel, Wench explores, with an unflinching eye, the moral complexities of slavery


  • Tatiana urban

    I love the story and the narrator. The story bring humbleness to the world that we live in. The torment that these women go through and yet still stand with pride. The Narrator was picked with perfection. For each character she speaks with a little different tone. So there will be no confusion as to who is talking. I love her reading. I am going to look for more of both of their work.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Jennifer Castanon

    I'm not usually a fan of historical fiction, but this story was emotionally gripping through and through. I highly recommend this title.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Lisa J

    Interesting aspect of history I was not aware of. Some parts were explicit, so couldn't listen to it around my children. I really enjoyed the main character and seeing the world of slavery through her eyes.

  • Brandi Pemberton

    Completely enjoyed this story! Will read it again and again

  • Tameka Mcspadden

    Fantastic and extremely unique story. The narrator did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life.